Paul Filmer brings us the next stage of his latest visit to Siberia where, from Yakutsk, he flew to Omsk in a Yakutia Boeing 737-600, instead of a scheduled Tu-154.
We were initially due to visit this airfield but were denied late into the trip, after flights had already been booked.
Instead we were picked up a by pilot in a van and taken to Kalachevo Landing Field. This is a small grass strip that houses a number of microlight or sport aircraft.
First order of the day was a nice cup of tea, with the water being boiled by a fancy old urn of some kind, along with some biscuits.
Next, flying was on the agenda. I opted to go fly a Sky Ranger with one of the pilots, and flew four circuits. I’ve never flown anything so light and small, but it was great fun.
The Aeropraki 22L looked far more robust and fun however, and a few of our group went flying in one of those examples after I’d landed.
A bit of fun and a good way to relieve the disappointments of the last two days, before we caught our second flight of the day, an S7 Airbus A319 back to Moscow.
Egorievsk Civil Aviation Technical College
The following morning we drove to the town of Yegoryevsk (Egorievsk), which is approximately 50 miles to the south-east of Moscow.
Here sits an aviation college with large aircraft – but no airport close by!
The college itself was founded in 1918 and has seen over 30,000 graduates pass through, including at least 1000 foreign students from 66 countries.
On the grounds are a good variety of aircraft, including a pair of interesting Tu-154s.
CCCP-85010 was the last pre-production aircraft built, whereas the next aircraft that came off the line, CCCP-85011, was the first true production aircraft.
It was nice to see these two important aircraft still extant.
The Air Mali An-26B (TZ-ACK) was returned to Russia in the 1970s and has been at the college since the mid 1990s. Certainly not something you see every day!
I was collared by one of the engineers after we’d looked around the static aircraft. He motioned us to follow him to the edge of the facility into a small wooded area.
Here sat a large rusting frame of some kind. He told us, in broken English, that this was in fact a sled made to transport the aircraft that we saw present.
He said that the aircraft had landed on the frozen river (or it may well have been a frozen field, but we might have lost something in the translation), and then the aircraft had been loaded onto the frame and towed to the college.
In Russia nothing is ever impossible, they will always find a way, via ingenuity!